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Posts tagged ‘sweets’

Double-Mango Cake

When I was pregnant with my son B I had mango juice practically ever morning. Something about it soothed my stomach and comforted me. I like to think that it was B driving that flavor preference…but even if it wasn’t he had some very mango-flavored mornings during his gestation.

I decided to make this mango cake by taking a standard lemon/orange/lime pound cake recipe and swapping the citrus juice out for mango nectar. I also added some chopped dried mango for an additional touch of mango. The dried mango speckled throughout the cake turned out to be moist bites of mango…next time I will add more dried mango into the batter.

The cake bakes for an hour and 30 minutes and then should cool completely (for an hour or two) before glazing it.  The cake is topped with a glaze containing mango nectar and sprinkled with more dried mango. Resutling in…..mango perfection!

Double-Mango Cake

CAKE

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mango nectar
  • 3/4 cups chopped dried mango (about 4 ounces)

GLAZE

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 to 6 teaspoons mango nectar

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. 
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, 1 1/4 cups butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the eggs with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  5. On low speed, beat in flour mixture alternately with milk and 1/2 cup mango nectar.
  6. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the chopped mango for topping the cake. Stir the remaining chopped mango into the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake 1 hour 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 20 minutes in pan.
  8. Remove cake from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
  9. In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Using whisk, mix in mango nectar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth and consistency of thick syrup.  Drizzle glaze over top of cake; spread with spatula or back of spoon, letting some glaze drizzle down side of cake.  Sprinkle reserved mangos on top of cake.

Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

Today, October 29th, is National Oatmeal Day!  What better way to celebrate than by baking a batch of oatmeal cookies. I loved these oatmeal cookies. They aren’t your typical oatmeal cookies…these ones are loaded with lots of good stuff like coconut, almonds and chocolate chunks. 

The resultant cookies are thin with a great crispy texture (thanks to all those almonds and coconut!).

If you start them now, these tasty treats will be ready to eat in about half an hour. So what are you waiting for?

Chocolate-Chunk Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

(from Gourmet’s Casual Entertaining cookbook)

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2 ” chunks (2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup almonds with skins (4 oz) toasted, cooled and chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat together butter and sugars in a bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and beat until just blended, then beat in vanilla, baking soda, and salt.  Add flour and mix at low speed until just blended.
  4. Stir in oats, coconut, chocolate, and almonds.
  5. Drop 1/4 cup douhg for each cookie onto large lightly greased baking sheets, about 3 inches apart, then gently pat each down until about 1/2″ thick. bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of and rotating pans halfway through baking, until golden, about 15 to 18 minutes.
  6. Cool cookies 1 minute, then transfer with a spatula to racks to cool completely.

Amaretto Apple Streusel Cupcakes

In my younger days, I enjoyed an Amaretto Sour or 2 or 3…. I have been a fan of the amaretto flavor for quite some time. Lindt chocolate used to make an amaretto truffle that came in a shiny purple wrapper but I haven’t seen them in years. That makes me sad.

What makes me happy is being able to bake sweets that use Amaretto as a flavoring agent.  So, of course when I saw the recipe for these cupcakes in a recent Cooking Light magazine I just had to make them.  They also gave me an opportunity to use some of the apples we picked from the orchard.

The cupcakes were relatively easy to make. I would love it if they had a touch more amaretto flavor though. Next time I am going to try adding a splash more amaretto to the cupcake batter and a little bit to the glaze as well.

Amaretto Apple Struesel Cupcakes

(from Cooking Light magazine)

  • Cooking spray
  • 6.75  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 3/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/4  cup  (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4  cup  butter, softened
  • 2  tablespoons  amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  large egg
  • 1/2  cup  reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4  cup  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4  cup  finely chopped Gala apple
  • 1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour

Streusel:

  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 2  tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 2  tablespoons  butter, chilled
  • 2  tablespoons  sliced almonds
  • Glaze:
  • 1  cup  powdered sugar
  • 4  teaspoons  2% reduced-fat milk

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Place muffin cup liners in 12 muffin cups; coat with cooking spray.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon 6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 6.75 ounces flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine granulated sugar, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add amaretto, vanilla, and egg to sugar mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Combine sour cream and 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until well blended. Combine apple and 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl; toss well.

4. Add flour mixture and sour cream mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Fold in apple mixture. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

5. To prepare the streusel, combine 2 tablespoons flour, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal; stir in almonds. Sprinkle streusel evenly over cupcakes. Bake at 350° for 27 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack, and remove the cupcakes from pan.

6. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and 4 teaspoons milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over cupcakes.

Pumpkin Pecan Spice Cookies

Admittedly, sometimes when I adapt a recipe it is because I am too lazy to go to the grocery store and I don’t quite have all of the ingredients the recipe calls for. With these cookies, I didn’t have quite enough brown sugar and somehow I was completely out of vanilla…so I improvised. (go me!) The cookies still came out great. They are a perfect little treat for the fall.  

Pumpkin Pecan Spice Cookies

(adapted from Betty Crocker Fall cookbook)

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup white vanilla baking chips
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Grease cookie sheet or line with cooking parchment paper or silicone mat.
  2. In large bowl, beat sugars, butter, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and rum extract on medium speed.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder, and spices. Stir in pecans and baking chips.
  4. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 10-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  6. Place chopped white chocolate in small resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Microwave on high about 1 minute or until softened. Gently squeeze bag until coating is smooth. Cut off tiny corner of bag. Squeeze bag to drizzle coating over cookies. Let stand until set.

Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

BREAD PUDDING!!  sorry…just had to get that out.   We happen to have a bread pudding super-fan in our house so I am always on the look out for different,  new-for-me bread pudding recipes. I saw this recipe for blueberry white chocolate bread pudding in a Taste of Home magazine and immediately tore it out and put it in my “make this soon” file.

The recipe was extremely easy to make and the results…mmmmm. The white chocolate meshed well with the blueberries to create perfect kisses of sweetness.  And yes, I know, the 2 cups of sugar did more than their fair share to add to the overall sweetness. 😉

Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

(From Taste of Home magazine)

Prep: 15 minutes + standing  Bake: 50 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 package (10-12 oz) white baking chips
  • 1 loaf (1 lb) French bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the blueberries and baking chips.
  3. Stir in bread cubes; let stand for 15 minutes or until bread is softened.
  4. Transfer to a greased 13-in.x9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are kind of a New England thing. I remember going to a slumber party when I was in 5th or 6th grade where the highlight of the evening was the group of us girls baking whoopie pies with a little help from my friend’s mom.

Earlier this year, my mother made the Red Velvet Whoopie Pies that were in the Food Network magazine and raved about how good they were.  One weekend, when I was looking for something sweet to make, I searched through my magazine basket for the copy of Food Network Magazine that had the much-lauded whoopie pie recipe.

The recipe was pretty easy though it did leave a pile of dirty bowls and spoons behind…but the resultant whoopie pies were so good that it was well worth having to wash all those dishes.

psst, my whoopie pies aren’t quite as red as they should be since I didn’t quite have enough red food coloring on hand. 😉

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

(from Food Network Magazine)

makes 18 sandwich cookies

  • 1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 ounce milk chocolate, chopped
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
  1. Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the semi-sweet and milk chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50 percent power until melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Whisk the melted butter, sour cream, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring in a bowl until combined.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in four equal batches, whisking each batch completely before adding the next. Stir in the melted chocolate.
  6. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets and smooth the tops with a damp finger. Bake until the cookies spring back lightly when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, make the filling: beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla seed. Sandwich a heaping tablespoonful of filling between 2 cookies; repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Almond Joy Brownies

I love to bake from scratch…but sometimes I see a recipe that starts with a cake or brownie mix and can’t help myself. This is one of those recipes and I am glad that I didn’t pass it by. These delectable bites are brownies topped with chunks of Almond Joy chocolate bars and sliced almonds.  I brought them to a party earlier this month and they were a big hit.

Almond Joy Brownies

(recipe from Betty Crocker)

  • 1 box (1 lb 2.3 oz) Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix
  • Water, egg, and vegetable oil called for on brownie mix box
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 6 bars (1.61 oz each) Almond Joy candy, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13×9″ pan with foil and coat foil with cooking spray.
  2. Make brownie mix as directed on box using water, oil and eggs. Bake 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk and egg with whisk. Pour mixture over partially baked brownie base. sprinkle candy bar pieces evenly over base. Top with sliced almonds.
  4. Bake 22 -27 minutes longer or until center is set.
  5. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.

Blueberry Angel Muffins

Earlier this summer I found myself practically buried in fresh blueberries. I was rifling through all of my cookbooks looking for something new and different to make using some of the berries. I landed on this recipe for angel food cake muffins with blueberries.

One word: WOW.

These were delicate & sweet with happy little bursts of berries. Without a doubt I will be making these muffin/cupcakes again.

Blueberry Angel Muffins

(from The Perfect Finish by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark)

Makes 12 standard sized muffins

  • non-stick cooking spray, for the muffin cups
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 large egg whites (7 ounces), at room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 6 teaspoons additional for sprinkling
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a standard-size muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use ungreased paper muffin cups.
  2. Sift the cake flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper and set aside. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the vanilla.
  3. In a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Add 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and beat at medium until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining granulated sugar, a raise the speed to high. Beat until stiff peaks form. While the eggs are beating, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. When you have stiff peaks, stop the machine and remove the bowl. Immediately sprinkle the dry ingredients and lemon zest over the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula, working carefully to avoid deflating the whites. Fold in half of the blueberries.
  5. Divide the batter among the muffin cups so that each is two-thirds full. Top each muffin with a few more blueberries and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar.
  6. Bake on the center rack until the muffins are lightly golden and a cake tester insterted in their centers comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin as soon as they come out of the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Serve within 4 hours.

Chocolate Banana Squares

Sometimes, I just have too many bananas lying around.  How do I get myself into these situations?? I innocently buy a bunch of bananas thinking “we’ll definitely use these” and then several days later I end up having a bunch of very ripe bananas staring at me from my kitchen counter.

This time around, I browsed through several of my cookbooks to find something other than banana bread or banana muffins. Something that would use up some of those ripe bananas. I landed on these chocolate banana squares from the cookbook Gourmet Sweets.

These squares have a shortbread crust and a layer of sweet gooey banana slices topped with a chocolate drizzle. They were packed with banana flavor. They make your fingers a little messy so be sure to have napkins handy when you serve these little guys.

Chocolate Banana Squares

(From Gourmet Sweets)

For Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

For Banana topping

  • 2 1/2 pounds ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and butter a 9″ square backing pan
  2. Making Crust: In a food processor pulse crust ingredients until a dough just forms. Pat dough evenly onto bottom of baking pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes or until pale golden.
  3. Make Banana Topping: Cut bananas into 1/4-inch thick slices and in a large bowl toss with brown sugar, butter, and lemon juice.
  4. Transfer topping to crust, spreading evenly .
  5. Bake in upper third of oven for 40 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool completely in pan on a rack. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.
  6. Chop chocolate and melt in a bowl microwave until shiny. stir to complete melting. Transfer melted chocolate to a small heavy-duty plastic bag and gently squeeze chocolate to 1 corner. Snip a small hole in corner and pipe chocolate over banana squares in a back and forth motion to form thin stripes. Let squares stand until chocolate is set, about 15 minutes.

Squares keep, layered between sheets of wax paper in airtight containers at room temperature, 2 days.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

I’ve found some great deals on fresh blueberries at various markets this summer. As a result I’ve done quite a bit of baking with blueberries. One of the first blueberry recipes that I made this year were Blueberry Crumb Bars from Bon Apetit magazine. I made these delicious little bites for a cookout.  They had a strong, bright blueberry flavor. They were definitely at their best the day they were made…after that the crumb topping  got a bit too damp.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

(from Bon Apetit July 2009)

Makes 24 bars

Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Filling:

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (about 15 ounces) or one 12-ounce package frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • 1 cup blueberry preserves (10 to 11 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

For crust:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter bottom of 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Whisk flour, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl. Add 1 cup butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in small clumps.

Transfer 2 cups to medium bowl; mix in almonds and reserve for topping.

Press remaining crumb mixture evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until golden and just firm to touch, about 22 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

For filling:
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread evenly over crust in pan, then sprinkle reserved topping over.

Bake bars until filling bubbles thickly at edges and topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes; cool in pan on rack. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip into 6 pieces, forming 24 bars.

the crust and crumb topping can be made two days ahead. Cover separately and chill.